Michigan families receiving additional food assistance benefits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will stop seeing extra payments in March, following a change in federal law.
The temporary boost in food assistance benefits — commonly known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — was meant to help low-income families weather the economic hardships of the pandemic and is expected to end nationwide after next month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services advises families to “prepare and seek out any needed resources to accommodate this reduction to your benefits,” according to its website.
Food assistance benefits are loaded onto Bridge Cards and do not expire at the end of the month they are issued, according to MDHHS. Unused payments are available 274 days after they are put onto cards.
Eligible Michigan families received at least an extra $95 in monthly payments as part of the pandemic expansion of SNAP. MDHHS says that additional benefits will end in February and regular benefit amounts will resume in March.
For instance, one person receiving SNAP, with a monthly net income after expenses of $700, currently receives $281 in total benefits including the pandemic additions, but starting in March their payment would drop to $71. MDHHS cautions, however, that each case is different.
Regular benefit amounts are based on how many people are on a food assistance case, income and deductions such as rent, mortgage or utilities. The reduction will vary based on individual circumstances, MDHHS said.
Eligible Michigan families began receiving extra food assistance payments in 2020 under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. A new law signed last month by President Joe Biden ends the “emergency allotments” available throughout the pandemic.
More than 1.3 million people in Michigan participate in SNAP. Officials have said that the additional payments helped more than 700,000 households.
For more information, go to bit.ly/MDHHSFoodAssistanceProgram.